Environmental Concerns Over Fracking Could Push For The Need To Re-Open St. Croix Refinery
Former HOVENSA refinery on the South Shore
OPEN IT UP
The HOVENSA refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands was one of the largest in the U.S. before being shut down.
A global economic slowdown in 2008 cut into demand for fuel, and the plant could no longer compete with newer, more efficient refineries. HOVENSA on paper recorded $1.3 billion in losses in the three years before it closed.
Now, the amount of crude being produced in the U.S. means that the refinery—which used to process Venezuelan oil—could make economic sense again.
The game changer has been oil from shale formations, which have propelled the U.S. toward the very top of the global producer rankings over the past five years.
CLOSE IT DOWN
But, the Financial Times writes, passions surrounding fracking in the U.S. are mounting.
The rush to extract more shale oil and gas is seeing rural towns and city suburbs groomed as drill sites, “where horrified residents say fracking is anything but clean,” writes Barney Jopson.
One reason fracking has been so possible in the U.S. is the large tracts of uninhabited space available for drill rigs, and spanning areas of oil- and gas-rich geology.
But the need for new fields has brought the operations closer to home for many Americans. The FT cites one recent meeting of angry residents in Colorado to illustrate the problem.
The fracking fracas is causing faction friction in U.S political circles. Within the Democrats, for example, the antifracking lobby is squaring up to the moderate, pro-business wing.
Republicans’ aggressive support for fracking, meanwhile, may be losing them votes in the areas that go from urban or rural neighborhood to drilling heartland.